Demand for locum GPs rising as practices struggle to recruit

More than half of locum GPs say demand for their services has risen in the past 12 months, survey data show.

Locum GPs: demand rising (Photo: JH Lancy)
Locum GPs: demand rising (Photo: JH Lancy)

A survey by GP’s sister website Medeconomics.co.uk found that 53% of locums said demand for their services had increased in that period, while a further 38% said it had stayed the same. Just 9% said demand had dipped.

Demand for locum GPs rose despite the fact that 63% said they were aware of practices in their area actively trying to cut costs by using locums less.

One in five locum GPs (21%) responding to the survey said they had increased their fees in the past 12 months, with a further 73% reporting their fees were unchanged.

Workforce crisis

The findings suggest the GP workforce crisis has left practices desperate to make economies with little choice but to continue using locums.

A GP magazine investigation earlier this year found that a third of practices had at least one GP vacancy, and one in six of these had been unable to fill a post for more than a year (GP, 21 July 2014).

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said the survey ‘suggests that even though practices have seen their resources cut they are continuing to put patients first and taking on locums to help to meet growing patient demand for appointments’.

He added: ‘It's also a reflection of the growing problems with recruitment and retention as practices struggle to replace GPs who have left and therefore they need to use more locums to fill the gap.’

More than 670 locum GPs responded to the poll, with some reporting concerns over pension payments and expectations placed on them.

Locum pay concerns

One locum wrote: ‘Although I am booked for a half-day surgery and paid an hourly rate, this never takes into account the full extent of the work involved so I invariably run over and am not paid for the extra time.

‘This is also the experience of other locums I meet. There is a general anxiety among locums that if they question this they will not get more work. This is also the reason why many locums have not put up their rates.’

Another locum said: ‘The introduction of practices having to pay the pension contribution directly has significantly impacted on perception of locum costs.’

Locum rates: regional rates for locum GPs from Medeconomics.co.uk

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Communication failures 'stopping GPs doing their jobs', PCN leaders warn

Communication failures 'stopping GPs doing their jobs', PCN leaders warn

'Poorly executed' communications from NHS and government officials are preventing...

Oxford COVID vaccine is up to 90% effective, latest data reveal

Oxford COVID vaccine is up to 90% effective, latest data reveal

The COVID-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford has been shown to be 70.4%...

GPs expect major COVID vaccination role as soon as first doses are ready

GPs expect major COVID vaccination role as soon as first doses are ready

GPs are expecting to be heavily involved in delivering COVID-19 vaccination in England...

GP phone lines 'jammed' as flu jab expansion comes without warning

GP phone lines 'jammed' as flu jab expansion comes without warning

Practices have reported phone lines being 'jammed' with a deluge of calls from patients...

Scottish GPs to play 'key role' in COVID vaccine programme run by health boards

Scottish GPs to play 'key role' in COVID vaccine programme run by health boards

GPs in Scotland are to play a 'key role' in a COVID-19 vaccination programme expected...

Pandemic offers one-off chance to reform NHS culture and retain doctors, says GMC chair

Pandemic offers one-off chance to reform NHS culture and retain doctors, says GMC chair

The COVID-19 pandemic is a one-off opportunity to create a more compassionate work...